National Assembly Speaker Peter Katjavivi declined to be dragged into the genocide deal, where the Namibian and German governments purportedly reached a N$19 billion settlement.
Approached by journalists outside Parliament on Wednesday, he said the genocide matter would be dealt with by Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila next week when the National Assembly resumes.
Katjavivi, one of the most senior lawmakers in Namibia, is a descendant of the Ovaherero people, who, alongside their Nama compatriots, were massacred between 1904 and 1908. At least 80 000 Herero and 10 000 Nama people were killed by colonial Germany when they resisted the colonial occupation.
In the public space, Katjavivi has earned a bad reputation for his purported indecisive role on genocide issues, particularly because the motion that birthed the negotiations was passed by the National Assembly, a House he presides over.
He has also been likened to the biblical betrayer Judas Iscariot, who disclosed Jesus’ whereabouts for 30 pieces of silver.
When this was put to him, he brushed it off.
“That is a ridiculous thing to say. I know people have their right to speech – but sometimes, there must be limitations,” he said.
Pressed further on the genocide issue, he bluntly refused to comment, before rushing to his waiting official vehicle.
Former Standard Bank chief executive Vetumbuavi Mungunda meanwhile entered the genocide fray through a public statement, branding the agreement reached between the two governments as “laughable”.
“The real present value of the annual N$500 million over 30 years is only N$8 billion. My rough guestimate of just the land dispossessed is north of N$1.5 trillion. “Now talk of the 70 000 to 80 000 lives lost, families’ structures destroyed, [and] victims scattered across southern Africa. How do
you even talk of any sort of agreement?” Mungunda posited.
Mungunda is “surprised that the negotiators even entertained such paternalistic insults from the German government”.
Last week, deputy chairperson of the Ovaherero Genocide Foundation, Joyce Muzengua accused the Executive [President Hage Geingob] of “hijacking the genocide negotiations through disregard and pomposity”.
According to her, Parliament – where a motion was passed on 26 October 2006 – should have taken a central role in the genocide deliberations.
Instead, according to Muzengua, the process was hijacked by the Executive, who made it a bilateral engagement between the German and Namibian governments to the “exclusion and detriment” of the affected communities.
Muzengua noted that the State agreed to step in as an observer or mediator when the negotiations take place between the affected communities and the German government. Last week, news broke that Germany had finally accepted it committed genocide in Namibia, with Berlin promising financial support
worth a little over one billion euros to aid projects in Namibia over 30 years.
The deal has been widely criticised and rejected by Namibians.